When it comes to picking where to open a brewery, Oak Ridge resident Sam Victory says the call between Greensboro and Winston-Salem isn’t easy.
“I don’t know how you could choose one or the other, personally,” he said today. “They both have great beer scenes and nightlife scenes.”
Victory is one of the owners behind Wise Man Brewing, a brewery that announced in January its plans to open in downtown Greensboro. The brewery’s Facebook page even lists 300 N. Church Street — the planned site — as its address.
But when developer Andy Zimmerman with AZ Development decided not to buy the former Gate City Motors building downtown, next to the Greensboro Children’s Museum, for lack of an anchor tenant, Wise Man had to look elsewhere.
Victory said they have actually been considering buildings in Winston-Salem as well as Greensboro the entire time, but now feel more confident that Wise Man is getting towards the final stages for a decision. Right now the brewing company is considering two building options — one in downtown Greensboro, and the other in downtown Winston-Salem, he said.
“We live in Oak Ridge, so we’re kind of in the middle,” he said. “When we go out, we go to Greensboro more than we go to Winston. It kinda felt like we were going to be in Greensboro, maybe because there were a few more buildings we were looking at there.”
Victory didn’t want to say too much until they have a lease signed, but said: “We’re getting pretty close.”
They’ve reached out to Jason Thiel at the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership to get a “better feel for Winston and what’s going on there,” particularly because they already have that sense in Greensboro, he said.
Both cities have their pros, Victory said.
“We do like the fact that there are breweries and now a distillery coming to Greensboro,” Victory said. “That’s a plus, not a negative.”
They like the feel of Gibb’s Hundred and Preyer Brewing in Greensboro, though Victory said they would want more space to grow. At the same, he said Foothills is a big draw for Winston-Salem’s beer scene, adding that the Camel City “can definitely support another brewery.”
Victory said the property they are considering in Winston-Salem isn’t too close to Foothills but is farther north in downtown. He offered no details about the new Greensboro site other than to say it is also downtown.
Victory isn’t the only booze-business owner living outside of the Triad cities who has decided to open in a more central location; it’s actually somewhat of a trend.
Summerfield resident Scot Sanborn opted to locate Sutler’s Spirit distillery, which currently makes gin, in Winston-Salem. When Mark and Sasha Gibb opened Gibb’s Hundred Brewing in downtown Greensboro, they lived in Summerfield, too. And Greensboro natives Nicole and Calder Preyer live in Summerfield as well, though the other members of the family business reside in Greensboro proper.
There are currently four breweries in Greensboro, and one besides Wise Man (Mansfield Brewing) planned. Winston-Salem is home to three breweries, and there are no known plans for any on the way, save for Wise Man.